Monday, March 31, 2014

The Nature Prescription: A Dose of The Outdoors a Day Keeps the Doctors Away. Mine/Thine Homework

Have you had your daily dose of the Outdoors today? Photo credit: Annie Yearout

You know when we’re on a hike. And we’re climbing up a single track path. Maybe surrounded by Aspen trees if we we're, say, at 9,000+ft heading up a trail to an alpine lake in Colorado.

It’s late spring. And all around us are gentle, wispy wildflowers poking their delicate heads through the fresh, green grass. A group of birds, possibly mountain chickadees, flitter in leaves of the trees around us, tweeting out to each other. Chicka-dee-dee-dee-dee.

I call up to my friend I’m hiking with as we’ve popped out of the grove of aspens and I pause to take in the heart-stopping grandeur of our view. A babbling, rocky stream below cutting the valley, snow-topped 14ers jaggedy up high, and Electric Pass and a scree field in my footsteps’ future at my back. 

Each way I turn, as I break and sip from my Camelback and nibble my gorp, I am bombarded with the awe of Nature.

Cathedral Lake Hike, Colorado

And I feel GOOD. My head is clear, my breath is challenged but strong, my body feels worked, like it was meant to Hunter & Gatherer style... and some deep level of contentment is present. I feel GOOD.

I’m curious about this feeling, because it’s the same sort of GOOD I feel when we’ve spent a stormy day in deep powder on a Wasatch Mountain in Utah. Chatting with my friends, the conversation about our runs turns to words like “epic” “unbelievable” and there is a giddy, juiced, almost spiritual vibe flowing through the group.

For as we use our bodies as two legged plows and carve through the fluffy snowpack, dodging trees and branches, taking on the big, Western bowls and steeps, we're participating in all things Nature. Flakes stick to our goggles, red, raw faces, and we occasionally get engulfed by a tidal-wave of powder – spitting it out and hooting with joy at the same time. We feel GOOD.

A daily dose of this could be all we need.

And though the dose need not be as extreme as dangling off a cliff in Nepal or bungee jumping from a helicopter onto a snow covered mountain in the Alps, it could just be as simple as taking a few steps towards a green patch in our neighborhoods or wild backyards. 

Finding a space. Where we can feast our eyes on an emerald bush dotted with flowers, a sprawl of unkempt grass where I can take off my shoes and feel the scrubby scrub of the earth, or enjoy the simplicity of an intricate dandelion and its tiny little parachutes. Or a snowflake. 

Where do you go to take your daily prescription of Nature? I can’t wait for my next dose.

Be. Breathe. Do it. – OM

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  1. This is spot-on OG. I love it and it inspires me to be in the mountains, this summer with the kids and lady. Cant wait... =) X Devrin

    1. oh, yes - see you there! on top of which 14er? ;)